The following descriptions summarize news from the English-speaking Conference of the Order of Friars Minor, comprising of provinces and custodies from Canada, England, Ireland, Lithuania, Malta, and the United States. Follow the ESC on Facebook and Twitter for up-to-date information throughout the month.
►Several interprovincial meetings are taking place or have taken place recently:
- US-6 vocation directors meeting – Sept. 10 to 11 in Chicago
- US-6 Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation animators meeting – Sept. 11 to 12 in Cincinnati
- Juntos Como Hermanos (Hispanic ministry) gathering – Sept. 17 to 20 in Silver Spring, Md.
- ESC communicators meeting – Sept. 17 to 21 in Burlington, Wis.
- “Aging in Place” health conference – Sept. 18 to 21 in Albuquerque, N.M.
►Br. Sung Wook (Zeno) Im, OFM, of St. Barbara Province, professed solemn vows on Sept. 8 at Sung Sam Korean Catholic Church in Los Angeles. Nearly 50 friars were present to witness the occasion. Following a brief vacation, Br. Zeno will assume full-time responsibilities as a member of the vocations team and will live at Old Mission Santa Barbara, Calif. A video of the solemn profession is available on YouTube.
►Br. Vincent Finnegan, OFM, of the Province of Ireland, was ordained a deacon at Multyfarnham Friary-Church on Sept. 1. Photos are available on his province’s Facebook page.
►Mount Alvernia Retreat Center in Wappingers Falls, N.Y., operated by Immaculate Conception Province, is celebrating its 50th anniversary this year. The friars purchased the property from a group of Franciscan sisters in 1944 and opened a seminary there two years later. The present building was constructed in 1951 and vacated in 1968, after the seminary relocated to Boston. The retreat center opened that same year. Mount Alvernia features 52 rooms, each with their own private bathroom, as well as extensive grounds, a 200-seat chapel and many meeting rooms. A popular destination, the retreat center is fully booked through 2020.
►Franciscan Media published a letter to Pope Francis from Fr. Pat McCloskey, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, asking the pontiff to address the clergy sex-abuse crisis, including the implementation of a worldwide juridical mechanism. Other groups who have released statements regarding the sex abuse crisis include the National Executive Council of the Secular Franciscan Order and Franciscan Action Network.
►Old Mission San Luis Rey in Oceanside, Calif., is not only a spiritual center – it’s also the site of a Hollywood movie. A recent article by The Coast News delves into the mission’s past as the setting for the 1950s television show “Zorro,” as well as other films, including “Have Gun Will Travel” and “A Time of Destiny.”
►Fifty years ago, on Aug. 16, 1968, one of the last big classes of Franciscan friars belonging to Immaculate Conception Province professed first vows at St. Anthony Friary in Catskill, N.Y. Of the original 18, six are still members of the Order of Friars Minor. Two of them – Fr. Joseph Lorenzo, OFM, and Br. Joseph LaGressa, OFM – are on staff at the friary, which now serves as a retirement residence.
— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.
- “Order Update: Friar Creates Unique Use for Empty Friaries in Spain” – Sept. 5, 2018, HNP Today
- “US-6 Councils Meet in St. Louis, Other ESC News” – Aug. 21, 2018, HNP Today